Forest Action Plan

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Forest Action Plan

  1. 1. Forest Action Plan Spring 2013 Georgia Forestry Commission’s five-year strategic plan A comprehensive plan for Georgia to sustain and expand the benefits of its 24+ million acres of forest land and forest products industry. Allison Segrest Forest Action Plan Georgia Forestry Commission PO Box 819 Macon, GA 31202
  2. 2. Forest Facts • Georgia has 24+ million acres of forestland, approximately 67% of our total land area. • Today we have 96% more cubic feet of wood growing in Georgia than we did 50 years ago. • Total economic activity supported by the forest industry in Georgia is more than $28.7 billion. • 100,000+ jobs “I am proud to see our state retain its position as a national forestry leader,” said Governor Deal.
  3. 3. How the plan came about… The 2008 Farm Bill required all states to establish a 5-year forest action plan • Allows GA to receive funding from the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act • Provides meaningful and measureable deliverables of GFC programs
  4. 4. The Goal This Assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of forest-related conditions, trends, threats and opportunities in the state and designates priorities within rural and urban forest landscapes. Additionally, states were charged with the order of developing long term strategies for investing federal, state and other resources to manage these identified priority landscapes and issues while meeting national, regional and state themes or guidance.
  5. 5. Georgia's Strategy accomplishes the following: – Outlines long-term strategies and programs to address priority landscapes – Describes how the state proposes to invest federal and other funding resources to address priorities; – Includes timelines for project and program implementation – Identifies partner and stakeholder involvement – Describes how the state’s proposed activities will accomplish S&PF objectives
  6. 6. As the assessment and strategies were developed, they incorporated major plans already in place such as the State Wildlife Action Plan, Community Wildfire Protection Plan and the Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment.
  7. 7. Forest Action Plan Outreach GFC Vision - Healthy, sustainable forests providing clean air, clean water and abundant products for future generations. Mission - To provide leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia's forest resources. FAP Program Priorities: •Conserve Working Forest Landscapes •Protect Forests from Harm •Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests
  8. 8. CONSERVE Forests filter our air and water, serve as places for recreation, and provide wildlife habitat. Forest Action Plans help preserve a natural legacy for generations to come. PROTECT Forest Action Plans offer the best thinking of local experts to proactively fight threats to forests from wildfire, insects, disease, and encroaching development. ENHANCE Most of Georgia’s forests are owned by families and protected and managed by professionals. Forest Action Plans target resources where they're needed most.
  9. 9. Pressing Forest Issues and Threats (ranked by stakeholders) 1) Water quality and quantity 2) Urbanization 3) Forest health 4) Biodiversity 5) Air quality 6) Fire management
  10. 10. Landowner Services Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) foresters and technicians are available to assist landowners with a variety of forest management services. Following is a brief overview of programs and services offered by the GFC forest managment staff. Landowners can contact their local GFC Forester for further assistance. Cost Share & Incentive Programs •Cost-share and conservation assistance through federal and state programs Directories •Directories for Consulting Foresters, Forestry Service Contractors, Master Timber Buyers, Certified Arborists, and Christmas Tree and Pine Straw Producers Forest Health •Forest health information, education, and training •Forest pests and invasive species identification and management recommendations Forest Legacy Program & Conservation Easements •Forest Legacy Program administration and conservation easement assistance
  11. 11. Landowner Services Management Plans and Advice Provide site specific consultation and written guidelines on topics such as reforestation, timber stand improvement, harvesting, and timber selling Development of multiple-use Forest Stewardship Plans Prescribed Burning Assistance with prescribed burning, including firebreak installation, burn plan development and assistance carrying out a burn Taxes and Estate Planning Tax and estate planning information and resources for forest landowners Tree Seedlings Pine and hardwood bare root seedlings for sale Water Quality and BMPs Advice on Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs), as well as monitoring and education BMP learning modules online Forest water quality and wetland complaint investigation and mediation Timber Harvest Notification Ordinances Information
  12. 12. #1 Threat: Water Quality Currently, more than 6,000 miles of streams do not meet state water quality standards. Nonpoint pollution and Urbanization are the biggest factors that put Georgia's water at risk. GFC advice and Best Management Practices can help landowners and communities combat this issue.
  13. 13. Water Quality • Declining budgets have affected state and local regulatory agencies’ abilities to effectively address water quality and quantity issues. • GFC and DNR will work with local governments and developers to ensure protection of stream buffers when development plans are considered.
  14. 14. #2: Urbanization From 2001- 2005, Georgia’s canopy cover declined by a total of 398,330 acres, or 273 acres per day.
  15. 15. Urbanization Through the Sustainable Community Forestry Program, GFC focuses on the future of our community forests by helping local leaders recognize the value of trees and to plan with trees in mind. Opportunities: •Tree Ordinances, Tree City program •Management Plans •Forest Stewardship •Risk assessments for fire protection With these programs community leaders can build a sustainable plan that minimizes the loss of trees while maximizing their benefits.
  16. 16. Urbanization GFC will… •identify areas of opportunity within community watersheds to connect forest patches to improve the water and air quality function of forest canopy, •identify appropriate mechanisms, •and facilitate discussions to link patches with landowners, local governments and conservation-minded nonprofit organizations
  17. 17. #3: Forest Health Threats Forest pests can drastically alter the forest ecosystem, eliminate important resources and inflict great economic losses. • • • • • • • • Annosum Root Disease Cogongrass Gypsy Moth Laurel Wilt Disease Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Pine Bark Beetles Sirex Woodwasp Sudden Oak Death
  18. 18. Trees that are weakened by pests and disease are at added risk of wildfire. Legislative support and regulation are needed to prevent the spread of these destructive threats. Foresters in the districts and counties and county Chief Rangers provide the majority of forest health assists to landowners in Georgia. Foresters are available for a variety of insect, disease, and invasive plant diagnosis and advice.
  19. 19. #4: Biodiversity Urbanization and resulting forest land losses place extraordinary stresses on wildlife and biodiversity. Georgia ranks fifth in the nation in number of species extinctions and eighth for species at risk. Many aquatic organisms have declined as a result of impoundments, siltation, pollution and competition from exotic species.
  20. 20. Biodiversity GFC’s strategy: •Conservation organizations and GFC will identify and protect significant wetland habitats through fee simple acquisition or conservation easements. •DNR and GFC will work to provide technical guidance and direct financial and other incentives to private landowners to encourage the protection, restoration and management of important wetlands.
  21. 21. #5: Air Quality The Forests’ Role: By reducing air pollution, trees do more than save money in pollution mitigation efforts; they save money in health care costs. (The American Lung Association estimates that ozone associated health care costs Americans about $50 billion annually.) Carbon Sequestration Monetizing forest carbon through private forest landowner participation in these markets provides an opportunity for a measure of compensation for the provision of a societal benefit.
  22. 22. #6: Fire Management At GFC, one of our top priorities is successful Fire Management through Best Management Practices. Opportunities: Rural Fire Defense Program Military Surplus Prescribed fire (Rx fire) is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk. Increasing urbanization challenges Georgia’s ability to maintain or increase the million-acre prescribed fire program. This program is GFC’s best fire prevention tool for mitigating wildfire threat.
  23. 23. #6: Fire Management FIREWISE Programs like Firewise allow communities to have the peace of mind that they are prepared in case of an emergency. -Grant opportunities -GFC assessments Contact: Eric Mosley, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist GFC 478-752-1193
  24. 24. #7: Forest fragmentation and Parcelization • Forest fragmentation and parcelization are additional challenges caused by urbanization. These phenomena are created when forests are converted to other land uses and when the number of forest landowners increase, but the land parcels shrink in size. • Contributing factors include urban sprawl, inheritance issues, tax implications, timber land divestitures, investment concerns or other financial pressures.
  25. 25. #7: Forest fragmentation and Parcelization GFC will continue to educate landowners about CUVA and FLPA opportunities and educate local tax assessors about how to adequately evaluate the properties enrolled in these programs.
  26. 26. #8: Economics • Economics and changing markets must be considered in order to increase the value of forests and forest products for continued industry growth. Traditional forest product markets have declined, but forest growth exceeds removals and is available to supply local and global markets. • Bioenergy markets are believed to hold great potential for Georgia.
  27. 27. Keep our Forests on your mind Privately held forestlands required long-term commitment that can be accomplished through a partnership of Federal, State and local government efforts.
  28. 28. Executive Summary
  29. 29. Find Out More • www.forestactionplans.org • www.gatrees.org/resources/publications

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